OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #260 To Be Bold, or Not to Be?
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There is a time to be bold, and a time to back off, and there are times when I wish that it was more clear to me which was which.
When Paul and Barnabas went out to preach about Jesus, they were bold. We see this in Acts 14 as the two went to Iconium, where they spoke boldly and spent considerable time there (14:3). When a plot developed against them, however, they decided it was time to leave (14:5-6). Clearly, some situations call for boldness, while others call for wisdom to back off.
When we took our youth group to a baseball game in Boston one time we found people in a few of the seats assigned to our group. Not wanting a confrontation in a strange city, I rationalized that it was OK since our seating section wasn’t full and we all had seats, even though our group was now split in two. It was one of my leaders who took it upon herself to get our seats back. It was a time to be bold.
Fear is not a helpful guide. Fear may help us recognize danger, but it cannot tell us whether we need to be bold or back off. Sometimes the very thing we need to do is to stand even when it is not safe.
Paul and Barnabas did not back off just because they were threatened. After leaving Iconium, they went to Lystra where they healed a man. People were so astonished that they thought Paul and Barnabas were Zeus and Hermes, 2 Greek gods. To prevent the group from offering sacrifices to them they waded into the crowd, which actually brought them closer to death. A group from Iconium was there and persuaded the mob to stone them. Paul was left for dead and dragged out of the city (14:8-20).
For Paul and Barnabas, it was not about their safety. Sometimes we face stones of opposition because we are doing the right thing. We shouldn’t forget that most of the apostles were martyred.
Be bold? Or back off? I have found some things that help. I pray for wisdom since God promises wisdom when we ask (James 1:5). I try to learn from the mistakes I have made in the past. I look for advice from people who are wise in these matters. And I try not to let fear rule the day. Easier said than done, I know.
I hope this helps. Be on fire.
OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published June 3, 2011. *Scripture taken from the New International Version. To subscribe or reply, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Archives are located at www.onfireletter.com. Blog located at http://www.onfireletter.blogspot.com/.